A classic tasting Vegan Meatloaf made with a base of chickpeas that is SO simple to make. This is NOT another mushy vegan loaf. It’s beautiful, savory, hearty and extremely comforting alongside some mashed potatoes and green beans.

vegan meatloaf on a wooden board with parsley

*This recipe was originally posted 10/12/17. Updated 9/24/18 with more appetizing photos and slightly updated instructions.

Ah, the Vegan Meatloaf. Have you tried making one yet? You can find many different versions all over the internet, from lentil loaf to tofu loaf, and probably many more.

Some I’ve tried have been quite good, but often even if they taste good, they don’t look very appetizing. I wanted to come up with a Vegan Meatloaf recipe that had more “classic” meatloaf flavors and would also look beautiful. Chickpeas to the rescue!

close up of ketchup topping on top of the vegan meatloaf

The one thing you never want is a super mushy loaf. And it’s pretty hard to avoid, actually. But through some trial and error, I have come up with a non-mushy, flavorful and beautiful loaf that would be just perfect as the main dish for Thanksgiving, Christmas or any other holiday.

I remember one Thanksgiving several years ago that I was super excited to make a popular blogger’s lentil loaf recipe. I wanted to impress our guests with how good vegan cooking can be! Well, the loaf sunk in the middle and was just a complete mushy mess. Ugh. So frustrating.


This Vegan Meatloaf is easy to make, and most of the time spent is hands off.

First, saute the vegetables in either water or olive oil for a few minutes, until the onion is translucent. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Mash the drained/rinsed chickpeas in a large bowl (I always use a potato masher, works great!).

Then simply add the cooked vegetables and all the remaining ingredients. Stir very well!

Press the mixture into a loaf pan evenly, cover with foil and cook for 30 minutes. Remove foil, add the ketchup- Worcestershire topping and put back in the oven for 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven, let cool a few minutes, slice and serve.

vegan meatloaf collage of sauteing vegetables and mixing

vegan meatloaf collage of making the loaf

I hope you all enjoy this vegan meatloaf! It’s:





& so Affordable

You can also leave off the ketchup topping and serve with this Easy Vegan Gravy instead!

close up photo from side of vegan meatloaf

Want more savory vegan dishes? Try one of these!

The Best Vegan Lasagna

Easy Vegan Gravy

Vegan Baked Ziti

Inspired by this recipe.

vegan meatloaf on a wooden board with parsley
4.88 stars (241 ratings)

The Best Vegan Meatloaf

A classic style vegan meatloaf recipe made with a base of chickpeas. Unlike some vegan loaf recipes, this one is not mushy. It has a slight smoky flavor and makes for a beautiful centerpiece dish for any holiday or Sunday family dinner.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 50 minutes
Total: 1 hour
Servings: 6 servings


Vegetables for Sautéing

  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil OR water for oil free
  • 1 small onion, diced small
  • 2 small carrots, diced small
  • 2 celery stalks, diced small
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

For the Rest

For the topping


  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and lightly spray a 9 inch loaf pan with oil, or line the bottom with parchment paper to prevent sticking.
  • Saute the onion, carrots, celery and garlic in the olive oil or water over medium heat for 5 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Add the chickpeas to a large bowl, and mash with a potato masher (or fork). You do not want them to be completely pasty or mushy, but well broken up. Alternatively, use a food processor, but be careful not to over blend them and make them totally mushy. Pulse a couple of times if using a food processor.
  • Add the cooked veggies and all the remaining ingredients to the chickpeas. I have found 1 cup of breadcrumbs to be enough, but if the mixture seems really moist, add an extra 1/2 cup. Stir with a large wooden spoon until very well combined. 
  • Press the loaf mixture in the prepared pan, pushing down evenly with your hand. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the ketchup and Worcestershire sauce for the topping.
  • After 30 minutes, remove the foil, spread the ketchup topping evenly on top of the loaf and bake for another 15 minutes, uncovered. Remove from the oven.
  • Allow to sit for at least 15 minutes before slicing if you can, it will hold up better. Sprinkle with fresh parsley if desired before serving.



  1. You may substitute gluten-free or whole wheat breadcrumbs if desired. The amount needed depends on how moist or dry your chickpeas are. I have found this varies depending on the brand. Use 1 to 1 1/2 cups.
  2. Make sure to find vegan Worcestershire sauce. Most have anchovies in the ingredients. Annie's brand has a good one you can find at most natural food stores. You can also order it online.
  3. Find liquid smoke near barbecue sauce in most grocery stores. You can leave it out, but it adds a great "smoky" flavor. One bottle will last you a long time.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 286kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 843mg | Potassium: 600mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 3598IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 110mg | Iron: 4mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!


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  1. So far so good, it’s in the oven and, looks surprisingly like meatloaf! I’m wondering how to reheat the loaf. I want to serve it for company that is vegetarian. Any tips?

    1. I hope you enjoy the loaf. You could reheat it covered in the oven until warm. Or individual slices in the microwave, air fryer or oven.

  2. Nora has the most consistently good recipes on the internet. Whenever I want to try a recipe, I always look up Nora. She makes veganism accessible; Nora is doing the Lord’s work. Seeing vegan clam chowder and vegan Tollhouse cookies has made me tear up- thinking I can still enjoy these nostalgic foods.

    1. Hi Andrea. I am really glad you are enjoying my recipes! Thanks for your encouraging review and feedback! Wishing you lots of happy cooking!

  3. Hi! I am looking for some recipes to make ahead and freeze. Would you recommend freezing this before or after cooking? Thank you!

  4. I have been vegan for over a decade, and your recipes are some of my favourites! Thanks for sharing your knowledge & skills 🙂 This “meatloaf”, alongside your pumpkin pie recipe, are now a staple at our holiday dinners. YUM!

    1. Thank you, Sharon, for your fantastic review and feedback! I appreciate you using my recipes, and am so glad that you are loving them! Happy cooking!

  5. I’m just exploring vegan dishes. I tried a different meat loaf recipe, which wasn’t that great. But this recipe is delicious. I made it for a potluck which had a lot of meat dishes coming, so I wanted an alternative, especially for my niece who is a vegetarian. Everyone loved it and I am now going to share the recipe with my niece. Thanks!

    1. You are welcome, Alice! I’m glad you loved the meatloaf! Thanks for your positive review and feedback!

      1. Hi Nora! This recipe looks delicious! I was just wondering how long to bake the meatloaf for since I have a 9 x 5 loaf inch pan. Thank you for your time! 🙂

  6. Hi Nora!
    I’ve made this recipe for years and thank you for creating it! I’ve tried several other veggie loaf recipes and always come back to yours, it’s really the best! I do add more celery and carrots so I add more breadcrumbs to make it more firm – plus I want a bigger loaf so we have leftovers : )
    Instead of ketchup, I add Kansas City bbq sauce on top and you get that delicious caramelized finish.
    Thanks again!

    1. I’m thrilled you love the meatloaf, Christina! Thank you so much for your wonderful feedback and review!

  7. This is the best recipe ever…so simple..and I’ve made so many loafs and this is the best…it came out gorgeous…this one is a keeper…

  8. Wow! Great taste! Didn’t have vegan Worstershire so substituted a little soy sauce and liquid smoke. I am imagining that loaf on a hard-crusted hero with crunchy greens…yum! Might be my new sandwich to take on hikes. This weekend I am going to air fry some scoops of that stuff for croquettes…felafel substitute???

  9. I made this recipe for dinner last night and it was delicious! I followed the recipe exactly but skipped the carrots and substituted 1 cup of quick oats for the breadcrumbs. The consistency was perfect and the loaf was firm, not at all mushy. Has anyone tried using kidney beans or other beans instead of garbanzo? Just curious to know. I’ll definitely make this again!

  10. Nor a vegan, but moving toward healthy options. Made this. Loved it… except an unfamiliar taste. I think it was the nutritional yeast. For now, leaving that out…what difference would that make.


    1. I’m glad you loved this loaf, thanks! You can leave out the nutritional yeast, it won’t affect anything other than the taste.

  11. Hi Nora! Amazing recipe 🙂 I want to make this to bring to my moms for Thanksgiving and was wondering what the best method would be? Should I do the initial covered cook then add the topping and bring it to my moms like that to pop back in the oven for the 15 min or so? Or is it best to cook the entire thing at once and then just reheat when I get there? Any suggestions appreciated. Thanks!

    1. Hi Carissa. I’m glad you like the recipe! I would just cover it with foil and reheat it in the oven at 375 degrees until just warmed through. Maybe leave off the topping until you re-warm it. Another option is to prepare it, put in the loaf pan, and refrigerate it. When ready, bake as per the recipe instructions. Note that it may take a bit longer to heat since it’s going into the oven cold. I hope that helps! Thank you for your wonderful review!

      1. Just wanted to know if you are using fresh breadcrumbs or are you using the bought dried breadcrumbs like Panko breadcrumbs etc?

  12. I made this and it was very tasty . I followed the directions exactly but it was a bit mushy. I only used one cup of Panko breadcrumbs and didn’t mash the beans to much.
    There wasn’t any slicing it was more of a mush. I only used one cup of Panko breadcrumbs. I’m going to make it again today and try it adding another half cup. Any substitute for the ketchup. I can tolerate tomato.

  13. Do you think I could make this on the weekend and freeze it? Then pull it out and warm it up on a week day?

  14. I was wonder what style breadcrumbs are best for this recipe? Panko, plain, italian, etc.
    Also- I love all your recipes!! 🙂

  15. It didn’t come out the way I had hoped. No matter how long I cook it, the top is crusty but the inside is the consistency of chunky refried beans. I used one can of chickpeas and one can of black beans and accidentally poured 1/3 cup ketchup in the mix instead of 1/4 cup. Is that why? Do I keep cooking it until it gets drier on the inside?

    1. Sorry to hear it didn’t work out for you, Darla. The extra ketchup might have contributed to its soft middle. Did you lightly mash the beans or did you mash them until they were pasty or mushy? That would also make the middle moist and soft.

      1. I probably mashed it too much as well. I let it sit out for a few hours and that helped. Not perfect but better. Thanks for replying, I will try the recipe again soon.

  16. Hi Nora, I don’t have flaxseed in my pantry, but I do have about 1/4 a bottle of Just Egg. Is the flaxseed for binding? Do you think just egg could work in its place? Thank you!

  17. The chickpeas I have were originally dried, but they’ve been soaking in water for a couple days now and I’m noticing they’re still crunchy. Will I need to cook them prior before adding them?

  18. Hi Nora, I have been using your recipes for a while, so my reviews and words of appreciation are long overdue. The meatloaf recipe is the very reason why I fell in love with your website. I often skip the glaze and serve it with vegan gravy and mashed potatoes. Sometimes, I add spices (for example, Provence or Thyme). The leftovers (if there are any) make a great meatloaf sandwich (with Dijon mustard and crusty bread). Thank you!

    1. Hi Kate. I appreciate you, and so value the encouraging feedback you have given today on my recipes! I am so glad you are enjoying the meatloaf! Wishing you lots of happy cooking!

  19. My husband made this for supper tonight, with garlic mashed potatoes, green beans and salad. It evoked the memories of growing up eating ‘meat’loaf and yet this time around it’s more satisfying and tastier! This recipe will be printed and kept with our collection of whole food plant based recipes that I hope we can make again and again. We’ve been ‘veg’ for six years now and won’t go back! Thank you Nora!

    1. You are welcome, Doris! Your meal sounds really delicious and comforting! I’m thrilled you and your husband love the recipe and will make it regularly! Thanks so much for sharing your fantastic feedback and review!

  20. First time ever having a vegan meatloaf – made the recipe exactly as written and it turned out great! Your recipes are making our new vegan diet easy to maintain. Thank you Nora!

    1. You are welcome, Karen. It’s very encouraging to hear that you are enjoying my recipes and they are helpful to you! Thank you for sharing your fabulous feedback and review! Happy cooking!

  21. I made this today and it turned out great. But can you recommend a substitute for the ketchup as it makes the overall dish a bit too sweet for my taste. I was thinking maybe tomato paste, what is your opinion?

    1. I’m so glad you liked it! You could use a low-sugar barbecue sauce instead. Or try stirring dried parsley, garlic powder, and onion powder with the ketchup and vegan Worcestershire sauce to help the glaze taste more savory than sweet. Hope this helps!

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